He Said/She Said: Commissioner for a day

By Bailey MosierJanuary 19, 2012, 3:53 pm

It's no small task to be commissioner of the PGA Tour and we give Tim Finchem kudos for signing a four-year extension. But if Finchem ever took a day's vacation, the Golf Guy and Birdie Bailey pondered what they would do if asked to fill in. And, much to our delight, Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee also decided to weigh in.

By THE GOLF GUY

If I was commissioner for a day I would take a long, hard look at the schedule, as well as course set ups. Here are two ideas I feel need to be addressed: 

- Stay away from football season as best you can (Silly Season and the Fall Series events not included). It's crazy having a great golf event coming down the stretch on a Sunday going up against the NFL and insane fantasy football fans (not to mention the also insane NFL wagering fans). Golf often provides fantastic finishes (count the record 19 playoffs in 2011 as proof) – the Golf Guy just wishes more people would watch. Which makes that famous philosophical question come to mind ... 'If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?'

- Course set ups. Here's the usual math – 10+4+4=18. That is the normal set up of a course – par-wise. A plethora of par 4s, and a couple dashes of par 3s and 5s. Which holes are usually the most exciting in golf? Correct, par 3s and par 5s. I understand purists would never change this formula – but if I was a commissioner, I certainly would. Golf on TV is entertainment. Please let us be entertained with the possibility of some wild lead changes that par 5s and par 3s always provide as they close in on the 72nd hole.

Now I want to be commissioner for a day on the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.


By BIRDIE BAILEY

Social identity theory tells us that groups are an important source of pride and self-esteem. Groups give us a sense of social identity; a sense of belonging to the social world.

If you think about it, we are conditioned from birth to belong to groups. We are born into a family. We go to schools, church and play on sports teams. We are girls or boys.

Even in golf, up until you turn professional, you play golf both in team and individual settings simultaneously. You play on a high school team and a college team before turning pro. It is without question an individual sport, but imagine the possibilities of more team events.

Think of how exhilarating and energizing it is to watch the Ryder Cup. The Presidents Cup. Heck, even the Solheim Cup. Think as a player, how electrifying it is to play for your nation; to play for a cause larger than yourself. As a fan, think of how much more deeply you connect with teams, entities and brands.

Teams provide undeniable benefits for both players and fans, so in my one day as commissioner, I would campaign for more team events throughout the year. Instead of a handful of the same big-name players that fans root for week in and week out, we would start to see the formation of allegiances to larger and fewer ‘team’ brands that would span more players and ultimately help grow the game.

My second order of business would be a more trivial matter. I would host a 'Dyed and Gone to Heaven' gala for my friends and family at TPC Sawgrass – a tribute to the course’s beloved architect, Pete Dye.

Attendees would dress in tie-dye and sip on Mai Tais while nibbling on stir-fry.

Festivities would include hitting orange golf balls from 190 yards out at the 18th fairway and anyone who knocked it inside the 2-foot mark as done so by Jerry Pate in 1982 would get to toss Pete Dye into the lake and jump in after him. 

The 17th hole would be themed after Pete’s wife, Alice, because rumor says she was instrumental in the implementation of the famed island green. The ‘Alice in Wonderland’ par 3 would have friends shouting, “Hit it, Alice!” to anyone whose tee shot found the water short, after which they would be served Dunkin Donuts.

We would laugh and dance, eat and drink and party till we ... Dyed.


By BRANDEL CHAMBLEE

If I found myself in control of the PGA Tour for one day and had usurped all power from my board I would rage against selfish desires, like extending a lifelong Tour card to a broken down Tour pro who now just rants on about all things golf. Perhaps, lining the 17th green at the TPC Sawgrass with enough dynamite to blow up the Hindu Kush and setting the timer to coincide with me Skyping Pete Dye. I think I could get both of those done before lunch and still find time to hop on the Tour jet and meet Jack Nicklaus for a round of golf at Seminole, to discuss Tour business, of course.

With deference to the historian Lord Acton, who said that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, I would, however, resist such childish thoughts and fight to do some lasting good with the 24 hours as commissioner; although, one could still argue for the dynamite.

Two things have hurt the game and will continue to do so. Technology and slow play are related in that as technology has given all Tour players the ability to hit tee shots into tomorrow, courses have been stretched out and the game has become a dragged-out affair. Five- and 6-hour rounds can’t attract a new audience in a generation filled with short attention spans. One solution would lead to growth in the game, I am convinced, and simultaneously make it more interesting for Tour players and those consigned to dark corners and bad coffee whose job it is to describe the action.

The word people use to describe what I am going to suggest is bifurcation, which sounds to me like a word used to make palatable that which tends to smell. Perhaps, that’s appropriate, because when bringing up the idea of two sets of rules, most look like they have smelled something offensive. Ironically the very ones who are offended the most are the ones who talk about growing the game most fervently.

Football, basketball and baseball all have different rules that separate professional and amateur competitions, and while arguments as to why may be circular, the sports have not suffered from this separation. Golf would benefit in many ways from a similar partition between the professional and amateur ranks. The long putter, which offers a great respite from putting woes and bad backs to many amateurs, has no place in professional sports. Its use, understandable in club golf, is corruptive at the professional level as it allows one to predetermine the path of the putter.

Drivers and golf balls could be scaled back on the Tour, which would allow holes to return to nostalgic lengths and records to be viewed more accurately. Amateurs could have access to bigger heads, thinner faces, longer shafts and hotter golf balls, which would allow them to at least feel some closing of the ever-widening gap between professionals and recreational golfers.

Shorter holes would mean faster rounds and cheaper golf and with the new equipment that amateurs would be able to use they just might have as much fun as I would blowing up the 17th hole at the TPC.

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Bjorn adds four Ryder Cup veterans as vice captains

By Will GrayMay 22, 2018, 1:05 pm

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn has added a quartet of vice captains for the biennial matches this fall in Paris.

Bjorn had already named Robert Karlsson as his first assistant, and he announced Tuesday at the BMW PGA Championship that his group of advisors will also include major champions Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell, and former world No. 1s Lee Westwood and Luke Donald.

Westwood is among Europe's most decorated Ryder Cup players, and his addition in this role signals he likely won't participate as a player in the matches for the first time since 1995. The Englishman has spoken openly about his desire to captain the European squad at Whistling Straits in 2020, but he's been quiet on the course in recent months, with a missed secondary cut at the Houston Open his only start since mid-February.

Harrington is seen as another possible captain for the 2020 matches, and he'll don an earpiece for the third straight Ryder Cup, having represented Europe as a player on six straight teams from 1999-2010.

Donald played on four Ryder Cup teams from 2004-12, with the Europeans winning each time he was on the roster. This will mark his first stint as a vice captain, as Donald announced last month that he would be sidelined indefinitely while recovering from a back injury.

At age 38, McDowell will be the youngest vice captain in the room, having holed the winning putt eight years ago at Celtic Manor. He won the French Open in both 2013 and 2014 at Le Golf National, site of this year's matches, and will also be making his debut as a vice captain.

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Bidder pays $50,000 to caddie for Woods

By Grill Room TeamMay 22, 2018, 12:28 pm

Someone has paid $50,000 to caddie for Tiger Woods at this year’s Hero World Challenge.

An unnamed bidder paid for the opportunity at an auction Saturday night at Tiger Jam, where monies are raised to support the Tiger Woods Foundation.



The Hero World Challenge will be contested Nov. 29-Dec. in Albany, Bahamas. The pro-am is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 28.

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NCAA DI Women's Champ.: Scoring, TV times

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 11:28 am

The NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championship is underway at Kartsen Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

After three days of stroke play, eight teams have advanced to the match-play portion of the championship. Quarterfinals and semifinals will be contested on Tuesday, with the finals being held on Wednesday. Golf Channel is airing the action live.

Wake Forest junior Jennifer Kupcho won the individual title. Click here for live action, beginning at 4 p.m. ET.

Scoring:

TV Times (all times ET):

Tuesday
11AM-conclusion: Match-play quarterfinals (Click here to watch live)
4-8PM: Match-play semifinals

Wednesday
4-8PM: Match-play finals

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Arizona grabs last spot with eagle putt, playoff win

By Ryan LavnerMay 22, 2018, 3:18 am

STILLWATER, Okla. – With her team freefalling in the standings, Arizona coach Laura Ianello was down to her last stroke.

The Wildcats began the final round of the NCAA Championship in third place, but they were 19 over par for the day, and outside the top-8 cut line, with only one player left on the course.

Bianca Pagdaganan had transferred from Gonzaga to compete for NCAA titles, and on the 17th hole Ianello told her that she needed to play “the best two holes of your life” to keep the dream alive.

She made par on 17, then hit a 185-yard 6-iron out of a divot to 30 feet. Not knowing where she stood on the final green, Pagdaganan felt an eerie calm over the ball. Sure enough, she buried the eagle putt, setting off a raucous celebration and sending the Wildcats into a play-five, count-four team playoff with Baylor at 33 over par.

Their match-play spot wasn’t yet secure, but Ianello still broke down in tears.


NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Team scoring

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Individual scoring


“Bianca is such an inspiration for all of us,” she said. “She’s the kind of kid that you want to root for, to have good things happen to.”

Arizona prevailed on the second playoff hole. As the 8 seed, the Wildcats will play top-seeded UCLA in the quarterfinals Tuesday at Karsten Creek.

Though the finish had plenty of drama, no teams played their way into the coveted top 8 on the final day of stroke-play qualifying.

Baylor came closest. The Bears barely advanced past regionals after a mysterious stomach virus affected several players and coaches. They competed in the final round with just four healthy players.

On Monday, Gurleen Kaur put Baylor in position to advance, shooting 68, but the Bears lost by three strokes on the second extra hole.

Arkansas finished one shot shy of the team playoff. The second-ranked Razorbacks, who entered NCAAs as one of the pre-tournament favorites, having won seven times, including their first SEC title, couldn’t overcome a 308-300 start and finished 10th. Player of the Year favorite Maria Fassi finished her week at 19 over par and counted only two rounds toward the team total.